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Quinta-feira, 28 de Outubro de 2010
The Wireless (Control) War

An interesting read at Gamasutra projected me to write up a few lines about the upcoming war we'll be witnessing in the coming weeks with the release of Microsoft's Kinect.

I'd guess the greater portion of tek fans out there have heard of Wii, possibly the biggest 'thing' out there in terms of wireless gaming. Because it seemed to me Playstation was a lone contender in the race for 'the greatest console', Nintendo had the brilliant idea of focussing on the 'other people'. Who are these other people? Those who don't play games because they simply can't understand how to use a two-joystick-four-button-plus-another-four-button controller. Naturally I'm talking about 'older people'.


Games have always seemed to be an activity for the 'young'. But with Wii, gaming became even more fun; and it became fun for the whole family. Wii's 'Wiimote' made it easier for people of all ages to enjoy playing games. They gave up on extensive, eye boggling graphics and focussed on making gaming a family issue, without sacrificing gameplay.

That's why I, should I ever be forced to choose between Wii and Playstation, would most likely choose the Wii. Why?



Let me exemplify: Imagine a rainy sunday afternoon. You're were thinking about going out with your friends for some 'outdoor' activity... but the rain has ruined your plans. If you had a Playstation, you could get 1, 2 or even 4 people playing a game. Normally you'll probably see one person against the other. However, with Wii, you could get up to 4 people playing a game in Wii Sports. Yes, I know you can have 4 people playing Playstation simultaneously... but the fact that Wii makes you move a bit more is all that much more appealing. Not to mention the fact, once again, you could get your parents on one team, and your brother or sister on the other.


So that's my 'bid' for the Playstation/Wii war.


Fortunately or unfortuantely - I'll explain why - Kinect has attacked!

I was fortunate to be present at the first public presentation of Kinect in Portugal, which occured during the 'Videojogos2010' Conference at the IST in Lisbon.

My first impression of Kinect was 'WOW!'

I was SERIOUSLY fascinated by how easily a player from the audience could step in front of the camera and start playing, immediatly. The calibration process takes around 3 seconds and, bam, you're good to go.

In terms of graphics, I think Kinect is slightly better than its counterpart Wii. While the avatars are similar on both consoles, the remaining graphics on Kinect appear to be more pleasant.




I could go on a bit further about what I saw, but I'm sure 'Youtube' has plenty of videos with examples :)

Moving on and returning to my original discussion, I think Wii has found a serious opponent in this wireless (control) war. While I haven't read much on Playstation's 'Move', I think it's strong competitor against the Wii. However, the fact that 'Move' is associated to Playstation means you can move from playing graphically-rich video games to fun, family games. With Wii... you get what you buy.

With the introduction of Kinect in the market, both the Playstation 'Move' and the Ninentdo 'Wii' will suffer a blow in their revenue. A fight between two moves on to three.

But will Playstation really suffer from the arise of Kinect? Probably not. Playstation's 'Move' is an attachment to their high-performance console... so if they don't sell all that many 'Move's', they'll still be profiting from sales with other video games and the console itself.

Wii on the other hand has a serious fight with Kinect. While wireless gaming was a big thing 3/4 years ago, today's big thing is... let's call it... 'body gaming' (or controller-free gaming, if you prefer a more technical term). If people had fun playing games without worying about getting tangled in wires, imagine how much fun they can have if they don't have to worry about controllers at all. Natrually Kinect isn't flawless in terms of 'body capturing', but it is brutally awesome.

The article I referred above shows that the Kinect will beat 'Move' in terms of sales. However, 'Move' is a much newer experience than Wii. Against a 4 year old project, Kinect will probably seem to be a much more exciting buy when compared to its counterpart.


So in the end... I feel this 3 player war is most likely a 2 player war. As I mentioned, 'Move' could be a success or a failure, but Playstation won't 'crash' because of it. Wii however, doesn't really have a backup plan. All they can really do is develop better games for those who have the Wii or try to go 'controller-free'.

Therefore, and because 'body-gaming' (maybe the expression will catch on) is today's big thing, I think Kinect will be in the near future the big time winner.


We'll see who'll be the first to make augmented reality gaming a definite thing...

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published by sja às 12:35

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